Jeff’s Childhood Playground

When the topic of retirement comes up and money not being an issue, I tell Jeff I wouldn’t mind living in Badian. Not by the waterfalls, though, because mosquitoes.

I want the open expanse of the sea in front of me when I look up and out from reading my book. The blue skies. The warm breeze. The gentle waves. I want them all.

I don’t think I can live in the city. With Cebu bursting at the seams with commercial and residential growth but the roads remaining as narrow as they were back when kalesas (horse-drawn carriages) were still the norm, I just want peace and quiet. Away from the noise. Away from people, preferably. Live like a fucking hermit but the kind who would gladly go to peryas and ride on rickety ferris wheels that’s the highlight of the local fairs.

I’m easy to please.

And every day, Jeff and I will be eating grilled banana slathered in unhealthy margarine and sprinkled with a little too much sugar to be considered good luck.

Either that, or we’ll be the ones selling them on the side of the street. Jeff pumping his solar-powered DJ system to lure the crowd in better than Gaisano stores ever could with their massive speakers screeching for attention. We’re gonna make a killing, g! We’re gonna live off comfortably on our banana sales alone!

The last time we were in Badian, it was actually nice to watch Raven “commune with nature,” so to speak. While I sat on a rock looking for signal, she had a bit of a play by the river’s shallow edge, discovering not only tiny little fishes but also how to maneuver an uneven terrain in her flip flops. A very important life skill.

Kawasan Falls, as always, was beautiful. Though if you zoom out into its neighboring infrastructure that served as, well, a resort, it’s a different story. Like I said before, I’m not a big fan of what they did with the area. Don’t get me started on the use of the toilet that you have to pay for.

Anyhoo… if you just focus on the beauty of the waterfalls and not think about the surrounding structural eyesore or the people who drowned in the plunge pool, it can be quite an enchanting experience.

…or not. But it’s not for lack of trying.

As far as I was concerned, I had better moments of serenity during the walk to and from the waterfalls. The coconut trees bending over the rushing river excited the poet in me. I breathed it all in.

All this used to be Jeff’s playground.

Even the lady minding her own business washing her clothes in the river didn’t escape my attention. In a way that I can only describe as a living artwork, I studied her portrait in a backdrop of ancient trees and a river that won’t stop flowing.

What was her life like?

Was she happy?

Content?

Or did she want to flow away like the river — into big cities or on airplanes that would make her river look smaller and smaller and farther and farther away.

That’s how it is, isn’t it? Until you travel so far away from home, you never really appreciate the home that you have.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

*Raven at 3 years old

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